Prayer: God of love and care, thank you for connecting us in our memories, in each moment and in our names. Amen
Reading: Malachi 3:16 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: Family Camp closing worship had just ended and one of the younger campers came up to me all excited because the ELW she had been using had been placed at Camp Mount Luther by Andy and Ruth Gates in honor of the 1984 Camp Staff (of which Andy was a member). The girl recognized our names and just had to show me. A connection. Below is something I wrote soon after my father passed on and it too involves a name plate and connection.
(written March 12, 2017)
Very early last Sunday morning, the pastor of my hometown church came and sat with us in our sorrow. Hours later, I went to worship and was hugged by my childhood Sunday School teachers (...and I thought they were old back then?). I sang from a hymnal placed by my mom's friend in memory of her own husband while that very same friend was at that very moment at the house comforting my mom. After church, I talked with someone from my Youth Fellowship days who drove me crazy because he dressed and acted like the Fonz...all...the...time. Now we have both lost parents. This Sunday I will go to church again...for all these reasons and many, many more.
Read that bold sentence again carefully. At the end of worship before putting the hymnal back in rack, I happened to glance at the name plate inside the front cover and that is what I saw. What I held in my hand was a connection of memories of the past and care in the moment.
Next time you are in church (or at Camp!), look at the name plate in the hymnal and remember we are all connected. --Ruth Gates
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